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The greatness of Ed Koch

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
February 4, 2013 1:23:46 PM PST
"Ed convinced us that we could be great, again."

So many great quotes at the funeral of Ed Koch today, but this quote may be the lasting legacy of the former Mayor. It was delivered today by the current Mayor, Mike Bloomberg. The Mayor who took office when New York was facing financial collapse, pulled the city and the citizenry out of the malaise.

Everything we've done, Bloomberg said, everything that Mayors Giuliani and Dinkins did, has been built on what Ed Koch accomplished.

A reform Jew, buried in an Episcopal cemetery, in a mostly Dominican neighborhood. What could be more New York than that? Mayor Bloomberg said. What could be more Ed Koch?

It was, in my humble opinion, the best speech I've ever seen Mayor Bloomberg give. And he had quite an audience - his two immediate predecessors, Dinkins and Giuliani, as well as Pres. Clinton, U.S. Senators from New York Kristin Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer, and New York Governors Cuomo and Cuomo, as well as Pataki and Spitzer.

He was 88 when he died last week. Not a life cut short to be sure. In fact, a life lived fully. And so today's funeral was a celebration of that, wonderfully insightful and at times upbeat and funny. And the ceremony was, it turns out, choreographed by the man himself. Shocker.

My honor to anchor our coverage, with Lori Stokes, of Mr. Koch's funeral. We have each covered him - although Lori pre-dates me on that score. When she was about 15, she came to New York as part of a Congressional tour, and she was hosted at Gracie Mansion by Mayor Koch. He and Lori's father served together in Congress.

You can see the story and our pictures by clicking on these links:

Story? http://ow.ly/hptq5

Photo? http://ow.ly/hptu7

We'll have the latest on the Koch funeral and burial, tonight at 11.

One more note about Koch: His tombstone quotes Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was killed by terrorists. Today, his mother wrote about how Koch died on the anniversary of her son's murder. Here's the link: http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/123319/how-ed-koch-honored-my-son

Also at 11, so what really happened to Sarai Sierra, the young married mother from Staten Island whose body was found beaten in Istanbul, Turkey. So many questions about why she was there - with two young kids at home, never having been out of the country before, traveling alone in Turkey of all places, in communication with at least one guy via the Internet. All sorts of conjecture, some of it the stuff of spy-mysteries, but very few answers. Her body is still in Turkey; her husband is over there now. Her children still don't know her fate. It's all very sad, and all very mysterious.

And two anti-gun rallies tonight in New York: High school students organizing one at City Hall, while mothers organizing another in Harlem.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Rob Powers with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER

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